Canadian Destination No. 1: Calgary Runs Roughshod over Competition

The throngs of fans who attend the annual Calgary Stampede know contestants must move swiftly and precisely to be victorious in the Saddledome events.

Calgary has a way of showcasing its impressive moves outside of the Stampede, too. C-Town has continued to lasso do-it-yourself movers in U-Haul truck rentals, and this time no one in Canada has done it better.

Calgary moved up one spot to claim No. 1 on the U-Haul Top 10 Canadian Destination Cities for 2014, supplanting Toronto. The rankings reflect the top destinations of one-way U-Haul truck rentals for the past calendar year.

Calgary also grabbed the top ranking in 2012, but had otherwise trailed Toronto for the last decade. While migration trends don’t correlate directly to a city’s population or economic growth, they are a strong gauge as to how well cities are attracting new residents.

Calgary Peace Bridge
Calgary Peace Bridge (Credit: Tourism Calgary)

“Calgary has become a magnet for talent from around the country and all over the world,” said Adam Legge, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.

“For more than a decade we have seen population growth of tens of thousands each year – this past year 54 percent of those moving to Calgary came internationally. An incredible natural setting, more sunlight than any other major city and legendary entrepreneurial spirit all contribute to why people move here – which they have been doing in record numbers.”

Gordon Anderson, marketing company president for U-Haul Company of Southern Alberta, said a slumping oil and energy sector has caused some economic struggles for the province but the overall outlook for growth in Calgary remains very positive.

“Calgary being No. 1 doesn’t surprise me,” Anderson said. “If you search why to move to Calgary, there are so many reasons. It’s a nice, clean city. We have the highest amount of head offices, per capita, than any Canadian city. We’re ranked one of the best cities in the world to live in. We’re the sunniest city in the world. It’s a very high quality of life here, and consequently it’s a great place to raise a family.

“There is no provincial sales tax. We’re the only one that doesn’t have that five to eight percent tax because of oil revenues. The government is reliant upon oil revenue, but it’s expected to rebound for growth again. It doesn’t ever seem to affect the city. We have always been a well run province.”

calgary uhaulfamous photo
Click here for more #Uhaulfamous photos from Calgary

Calgary, only three hours north of the U.S. border by car, draws many Americans as both tourists and new residents. Calgary is comparable to Denver, Colo., for beautiful natural surroundings, its propensity for outdoor living and sports near the Rocky Mountains, and its ability to have a nice range of weather and temperatures, according to Anderson.

Insider Advice: Living in Calgary

“One thing I’ve noticed is most of the migrants are from international sources,” Anderson said. “There is residential growth. Every city is trying to renew downtown a little bit, but for the most part it’s a spread-out city. The growth is in bedroom communities around the city. New areas are popping up all the time.”

New residents have plenty to see and do. Banff and Lake Louise are a short drive west of town. Canada Olympic Park, site of the XV Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, is just west of downtown.

Then there’s the renowned Stampede, which starts Friday and brings out the cowboy in everyone for 10 days in July while attracting more than a million visitors every year.

Education also is a focal point in the city – the University of Calgary is the No. 1 ranked “young school” under 50 years of age in the country.

Legge said new residents have brought knowledge, skills and vibrancy to Calgary’s job force. “Calgary is now one of Canada’s youngest and most dynamic metropolitan cities,” he explained.

Like Calgarians who aim to take care of their beautiful city and its surroundings, U-Haul is a proponent of environmentally friendly initiatives. U-Haul strives to benefit the environment in numerous way including truck sharing, a core U-Haul sustainability business practice that allows individuals to access a fleet of trucks larger than what they could access on an individual basis.

Every U-Haul truck placed in a community helps keep 19 personally owned large-capacity vehicles, pickups, SUVs and vans off the road, translating to less traffic congestion, less pollution, less fuel burned and cleaner air. Read more about U-Haul Company’s role in the community on myuhaulstory.com.

Congratulations to Calgary, the second Alberta city in the Top 10 Canadian Destination Cities countdown. U-Haul named Edmonton the No. 3 destination on Monday.

Calgarians are invited to become U-Haul Famous. Take your picture in front of a U-Haul product, send it in and your face could land on the side of a U-Haul truck. Upload your photo through Instagram using #uhaulfamous, or go to uhaulfamous.com to submit photos and learn more.

Additional photo credits: Calgary skyline (featured image) and Calgary Stampede (thumbnail) by Tourism Calgary.

Canadian Destination Cities

10. Kitchener

9. Victoria

8. Hamilton

7. Ottawa

6. London

5. Vancouver

4. Toronto

3. Edmonton

2. Montreal

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